My 2002 Nissan Sentra 1.8L GXE with 146k was intermittently stalling out a couple of weeks ago and eventually wouldn’t restart even after giving it some time to cool down. I had it towed to a shop in town because it was “AAA Approved” and one of their mechanics performed diagnostics. He informed me that he wasn’t able to determine what the issue was with 100% certainty, but he was fairly sure the mass air flow sensor needed to be replaced and gave me an estimate of ~$750. I shopped around because I thought this was high and found another well reviewed local shop willing to do it for ~$500. I gave the owner of the second shop all of the information the first mechanic told me and he informed me that he wouldn’t charge me for doing his own diagnostics, but I didn’t realize this meant he didn’t plan on doing his own diagnostics AT ALL (he also never asked who I took the car to in the first place).
Not surprisingly, my car began stalling again a couple of days after I got it back so I returned it to the shop who did the repairs. This time around they did perform their own diagnostics, even switching out the part they had replaced to make sure it wasn’t just a faulty part. After all of this, the owner told me he had no idea what the issue is and recommended I take it to a Nissan dealership or a shop that specializes in imports. He said that had I brought my car to him originally and he’d performed the diagnostics on his own and done repairs that didn’t address the problem, he’d give me my money back. However, because I’d had the diagnostics performed at another shop first, he wasn’t going to give me a refund. I really don’t want to sue somebody over $500, but I feel like I’m getting screwed here.